Ghana to explore offline transactions for upcoming CBDC

Ghana is developing offline capabilities for its central bank digital currency (CBDC), in an effort to encourage its use by all segments of Ghanaian society.

Bloomberg reported that Kwame Oppong (head of fintech innovation and fintech at the Bank of Ghana) revealed Monday that the digital currency of the country, “e-cedi”, will allow offline transactions as part of the Ghana Economic Forum.

Oppong stated that Ghana’s CBDC will be available offline to Ghanais without reliable internet access and electricity.

“The ecedi could also be used offline with some smart cards.”

A smart card, a card that is the size of a credit card, has a chip that allows it to be used to transact with a pre-loaded balance. Oxfam has tested a similar system to enable payments using the DAI (decentralized stablecoin) to aid in disaster relief.

According to World Bank data, 84% of Ghana’s residents had electricity access at the time. Only 53% were connected to internet.

Related: G7 leaders issue digital currency guidelines for central banks

BoG announced that it has partnered with Giesecke+Devrient (G+D), a German financial firm, to pilot a retail CBDC program in Ghana.

This announcement was made just one month after Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Ghana’s vice president, advocated that African governments embrace digital currencies to boost trade across the continent at the Fifth Ghana International Trade Finance Conference in July.

Chainalysis, an analytics firm, reported that Africa’s cryptocurrency market has grown more than 1,200% in the last month.

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